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Thumb Placement Quandary

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by kmon, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. kmon

    kmon Supporting Member

    May 11, 2009
    Austin, TX
    In general I like to have my thumb on a pickup or a pickup and string if I'm playing the D or G string. Gives me a feeling of stability, and helps me to stay in the same place.

    Here's the thing...on my jazz I really want my thumb to be positioned about 1-2 inches to the left of the bridge pickup. Resting my thumb right on the bridge pickup feels a little far forward and I like the sound better when I'm a little more between the two pickups.

    There's no place to anchor my thumb 1-2 inches to the left of the bridge pickup :(

    So there are probably 20 ways to rig something up to give me a place for my thumb there...I've looked into ramps but that seems like dramatic overkill for what I'm trying to accomplish...anybody have any suggestions? Something that'll give me the "thumb on pickup" feeling without looking like crap?
  2. I have that same quandry a bit. I'm thinking of putting a rest just slightly behind and above the neck pickup on my Jazz bass, in order to get my hand positioned where I like it. It'll put my fingers just about right between the pickups.

    Don't know if that's your thing or not, but it's where I tend to play.
  3. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    A thumb rest is an easy solution if you don't mind drilling a couple mounting holes. I take an old scrap of some nice wood (Mahogany, Ebony, or something with a little figuring/grain in it) and whittle it into a shape that my thumb can rest comfortably in, and then drill a couple counter-sunk holes in it. Actually drill the holes first, then whittle your shape around the holes. A little sandpaper, and voila! Thumb rest.

    To get your shape you can draw in on the flat, un-shaped piece of wood and use a bandsaw or scrollsaw, if you want to get 'boutique' on it... I do!

    Now take some double-sided tape and stick it to the mounting-side of the piece, attach it to the bass, pick guard, etc., and after you've got it where you want it (be sure!), drill your screw-holes into the bass . Screw the sucker in, and you're done.

    I like to use Phillips/oval-head stainless screws- about 1 1/4" long, just in case you like to bear down on your thumb pretty hard.
  4. If you don't want to drill two screws for the thumb rest, use one of the ones in the pickguard, and then you only have to draw one. Check out the placement on some of the MIM 50's Fenders and stuff, it uses a whole in the PG already there.
  5. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I find on my Jazz that if I rest my thumb on the neck pickup it puts my fingers about where you're talking about. But, then, my thumb doesn't stay resting on anything in particular.
  6. claghorn


    Nov 8, 2012
    I used 2 pickguard holes and longer screws of course. The thumb rest is a little long. I also sanded a curve in the wood instead of having it straight.
  7. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    .. one of the hardest things for me to break, was the need to anchor my thumb on the neck pup ... but, I am getting better about it, and it has helped my playing ... I mute more efficiently, and am getting noticeably more dynamic by playing multiple positions with the right (plucking) hand ... I will still hit that neck pup if I fatigue or need the stability for something with repetition, but now that I am more comfortable 'riding' that E string, playing has become a bit more effortless and much cleaner with the better muting .. JMHO
  8. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Use some moongel dampening pads as used by drummers. They will stick any where you want them and make great thumb or finger rests.